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Shakira's 'Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran' is her first album in 7 years

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Shakira just released her first album in seven years. Its title is in Spanish. I'll spare you my pronunciation and just tell you the English translation is "Women No Longer Cry." It's a record that chronicles a public breakup, her legal struggles and return to the spotlight. NPR's Isabella Gomez Sarmiento reports.

ISABELLA GOMEZ SARMIENTO, BYLINE: It's not quite fair to describe this moment in Shakira's career as a comeback. Yes, "Las Mujeres Ya No Lloran" is the Colombian pop star's first album since 2017, but she hasn't exactly been away from the studio.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHAKIRA: BZRP MUSIC SESSIONS, VOL. 53")

SHAKIRA: (Singing in Spanish).

GOMEZ SARMIENTO: She's been releasing back-to-back collaborations for years, including this song with Argentinian producer Bizarrap, which also appears on the album. The song broke 14 Guinness World Records and details Shakira's highly publicized separation from the father of her children.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIZARRAP AND SHAKIRA SONG, "SHAKIRA: BZRP MUSIC SESSIONS, VOL. 53")

GOMEZ SARMIENTO: This is a project fueled by post-breakup empowerment, as she told Apple Music earlier this week.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SHAKIRA: I just did what I thought was necessary for me. I had to pick up the pieces of myself and put them all back together. And music was the glue.

GOMEZ SARMIENTO: The album features heavy hitters like Cardi B, Rauw Alejandro and Karol G. But NPR's Anamaria Sayre, host of the Alt.Latino podcast, says it doesn't always pack a sonic punch.

ANAMARIA SAYRE, BYLINE: I think, generally, the record feels a bit disjointed to me. It feels like a collection of a lot of the singles that she's already put out.

GOMEZ SARMIENTO: But Sayre says it does have some nice moments, like a Regional Mexican song with Grupo Frontera.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "(ENTRE PARÉNTESIS)")

SHAKIRA AND GRUPO FRONTERA: (Singing in Spanish).

SAYRE: Her vocals on this feel perfectly made for Regional Mexican music. I have never heard her sing quite in this way.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "(ENTRE PARÉNTESIS)")

SHAKIRA AND GRUPO FRONTERA: (Singing in Spanish).

SAYRE: Another song that I loved is "Cómo, Dónde y Cuándo." It is a beautiful return to the roquera Shakira of the '90s we all know and love.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CÒMO, DÒNDE Y CUÀNDO")

SHAKIRA: (Singing in Spanish)

GOMEZ SARMIENTO: Shakira rose to stardom, mixed in global genres like rock en Español, dancehall and cumbia. So it makes sense that this album also spans influences from reggaeton to Afrobeats. Sayre predicts the album will climb the charts.

SAYRE: People will love to listen to it in the club, in the gym. But it won't be something that necessarily stands as one of the hallmark pieces of her career.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NASSAU")

SHAKIRA: (Singing in Spanish).

GOMEZ SARMIENTO: Shakira says she's done wiping her tears.

Isabella Gomez Sarmiento, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NASSAU")

SHAKIRA: (Singing in Spanish). Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Isabella Gomez Sarmiento is a production assistant with Weekend Edition.